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Netanyahu rival moots center-left election alliance
Published Saturday 05/01/2013 (updated) 06/01/2013 17:11
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Former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni.(MaanImages/file)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel's main center-left parties may join forces against conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Jan. 22 election that he is currently forecast to win easily, one of the challengers said on Saturday.

Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, head of the centrist Hatenuah party, said on Twitter that she would meet counterparts from the kindred Yesh Atid and left-leaning Labor "to discuss the creation of a 'united front' to work together to replace Netanyahu".

Opinion polls see the three parties taking around 37 of parliament's 120 seats in the vote - collectively, enough to best the some 35 projected for Netanyahu's joint rightist list and, potentially, to form the next Israeli coalition government.

Netanyahu is a two-term premier who takes credit for the relative stability of the Israeli economy and appeals to Israel's burgeoning religious-nationalist sectors by championing the settlement of occupied land. He has sounded hawkish on the Palestinians and Iran but avoided big conflicts.

Israel's festering international isolation has been seized on by Livni, who as top diplomat in the former government pursued inconclusive talks on founding a Palestinian state.

The leaders of Yesh Atid and Labour, Yair Lapid and Shelly Yachimovich, are new to politics and known to much of the public from their former jobs as television commentators. Their campaigns have focused largely on social reform.

Any alliance of the Netanyahu challengers would likely require that they agree power-shares and policies in advance.

Yachimovich said this week she intended either to be the next prime minister or to sit in opposition, and that Labor would not join a Netanyahu-led government. Livni and Lapid have yet to do the same.

"A unified move by ... all those who seek to change the government will be real and meaningful only if such parties act as we did," Yachimovich said in a statement confirming that she had agreed to meet Livni.

By collectively ruling out a future coalition partnership with Netanyahu, Yachimovich said, challengers could "plant enormous hope in the heart of the public ... and bring about grassroots mobilization for a determined and spirited struggle".

Lapid played down his scheduled meeting with Livni, telling Reuters that he would go at her invitation "because I'm a polite man". He said he had not agreed to discuss uniting the parties.

The Netanyahu government was unfazed by Livni's initiative.

"I wish that the other side, to the left, would coalesce, because that would hone the differences between us," Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon of the ruling Likud said in a speech.

In an apparent dig at Lapid and Yachimovich, Yaalon rued "the immodesty and immaturity in the desire of certain people to jump straight into the cold water of being prime minister, without passing through any stations along the way".
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1 ) Mel / USA
05/01/2013 16:20
Livni,like her 'rival'cohorts should actually be ON TRIAL, for war crimes,crimes against the peace,Cruel &USUAL Collective Punishment/Treatment,especially for the murder of blockaded CIVILIAN men,women,children in Gaza(Op.Cast Lead etc). And,relatively speaking Israel's political "center-left" is on a par with our US FAR-RIGHT 'Born-Agains',Xtremevangelicals,Absolutists,Revisionists,etc! As far away from BALANCED political center,as Utah or RIYADH!!!LOL! Arrest her!

2 ) Tibi / Tubas
05/01/2013 22:06
1- Even if the "Center-Left" gets 37 of parliament's 120 seats collectively, or two more than than Netanyahu's joint rightist list, 2- the "Center-Left" has "NO common ground" with the settler/religous groups, which together will get 30 seats, so just as in the last election where the "Left" got more votes than Likud, 3- the next Israeli government will again be a "Right"-Religous-Settler coalition, and 4- THE STATE OF PALESTINE WILL HAVE TO COMPROMISE, with or remain in as it is now.

3 ) Mel / USA
06/01/2013 20:35
I'll start to listen to Israel when it PROVES it still believes in "complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion,race or sex"(1948:DESI)& adopts TRUE democracy for ALL,& withdraws its lawless ethnocratic occupation East of the Green Line.Global Jewry is responsible for Israel!Alas,where's the Israeli political party which will bravely"declare"a COALITION OF EQUALITY with a Muslim political party,to pull a COUP on Boer State 'Rabbi Geyer'?
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